$39 Million WR Named As New Potential Trade Target for Steelers

pittsburgh steelers brandin cooks

Getty Brandin Cooks was named a potential trade target for the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver situation remains one of the more interesting stories in the NFL as this year’s draft approaches.

Fans have been waiting for the team to upgrade at the position for more than a month and that has led to plenty of rumors about how the team could address the need.

That has also meant they’ve been linked to plenty of names they could potentially add at the position.

Now there’s another name that has been added to the mix.

During an appearance on the April 22 episode of 93.7 The Fan’s “The Fan Morning Show”, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly named Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks as a potential trade target for the Steelers.

“I’m looking at a guy like, I mean I don’t even know if he’s on the block, but a guy like Brandin Cooks would fit in here nice. He’s in the final year of his contract in Dallas. They’re trying to dump everybody for money. If you can somehow make a move, I would do that. I would imagine there’s a plan in place to add a receiver. I mean these are smart guys. They know they can’t go with Van Jefferson and Quez Watkins. They know it and they can’t rely on the draft right now.”

Why Cooks Would Fit

As Kaboly pointed out, the Steelers’ options at WR2 aren’t great right now.

Jefferson had 20 catches for 209 yards last season and 24 catches for 369 yards in 2022.

Watkins’ numbers weren’t any better. He had 15 catches for 142 yards in 2023 and 33 catches for 354 yards in 2022.

The team also has Calvin Austin, but he missed his whole rookie season in 2022 and then made just 17 catches for 180 yards last season.

Cooks is by no means a star at this point in his career, but he could absolutely be a dependable producer for the Steelers.

From 2015 to 2021, Cooks topped 1000 yards in six of seven seasons. His last two seasons haven’t been quite as productive, but he’s still been a solid option.

In 2022, Cooks made 57 catches for 699 yards in 13 games.

He was traded to the Cowboys the following offseason. During his first season in Dallas, Cooks made 54 catches for 657 yards and 8 touchdowns as the number two option for the Cowboys.

If he could recreate that production with the Steelers, it would make him a perfect replacement for Diontae Johnson.

He also shouldn’t cost the Steeles too much in terms of draft capital.

The Cowboys only traded a fifth round pick and sixth rounder to get Cooks, so they likely wouldn’t be looking to get any more than that back if they trade him.

Cooks only has one year left on his 2-year, $39.8 million contract, which would potentially only make him a short-term answer, but if the Cowboys were actually trying to move Cooks, there aren’t many better moves available to the Steelers right now.

Steelers’ Other Trade Options

Cooks is far from the only wide receiver that has been talked about as an option for the Steelers lately.

The big one is Brandon Aiyuk. The 49ers receiver has established himself as a star after going over 1300 yards in 2023, but he only has one year left on his contract and should have big payday coming his way.

That has led to him becoming one of the more popular names in trade talks recently.

However, he would be costly for the Steelers. They’d likely need to trade their first round pick and then some to get him and would then need to sign him to a contract extension.

All of that could deter the Steelers, but he’d still be a huge addition if they did end up trading for him.

A trade for Courtland Sutton is also an idea that has been gaining steam lately.

On April 24, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler called the Steelers a team to watch as a potential suitor for Sutton after he decided to skip the Broncos’ voluntary workouts.

Sutton spent the last two years catching passes from new Steelers QB Russell Wilson, which would make the transition easier for him if he ended up in Pittsburgh.

However, it’s a move that would really only make sense if the Steelers could work out a cheap trade for him.

Sutton has worse career numbers numbers than Johnson. In five healthy seasons (he has been in the league for six, but only played one game in 2020 because of an ACL tear), Sutton has 295 catches for 4193 yards.

In his five-year career, Johnson has 391 catches for 4363 yards.

That makes it hard to see how giving up meaningful draft capital for Sutton after trading Johnson could make sense for the team.

Whatever their plan is at the position, the Steelers are going to be an interesting team to watch over the next few days.

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